How to Explore Kerala for Angling
If your main purpose for the trip is fishing, I would not suggest going to Kerala; spending your vacation in Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh would be better.
Kerala, a small state on the southwestern coast of India, is a wonderful destination that offers a mix of backwaters, lush landscapes, and cultural heritage. With various rivers, lakes, and an extensive coastline, Keraka can be a good place for fishing enthusiasts looking to enjoy freshwater and seawater fishing. While Kerala may not be the most popular choice for fishing tours like some Himalayan states, it can still offer a fulfilling experience if you combine fishing with nature watching.
Combining fishing with other activities, such as exploring nature and culture, is highly recommended. This article provides information on the required licenses and the best fishing spots for each type of fishing.
Where to go for angling in Kerala?
Kerala has plenty of rivers, streams, lakes, and other water bodies that harbour various fish species suitable for sport fishing. However, the unfortunate reality is that fishing is still practised only for commercial purposes or personal consumption, and the state’s potential as a recreational fishing destination must be used.
Fortunately, angling as a hobby is now gaining popularity, especially among young people. However, catch-and-release has yet to be widely practised. A new recreational fishing licensing system is now being implemented. Restrictions apply to fishing in dams and natural parks. Some resorts in Kerala offer angling services as part of their packages. Hiring a fishing guide or travel company in Kerala is recommended if you are a dedicated angler. Below this article, you can find a list of some reputable companies to choose from.
Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Destinations in Kerala:
Location : Sita Devi Lake
During the colonial era, the British introduced trout to Munnar. They brought the first batch of trout seeds from Mumbai and set up a small hatchery in Chenduvarai in 1907. They released them in Mattupetty and other tea plantation reservoirs in Munnar. Although you may not find large-sized trout here now, streams and dams in Munnar still have trout in reasonable numbers. Angling enthusiasts visit the place to fulfil their dreams. Streams in the interior of “Gravel Banks” are probably the best area to angle for trout in all its charms. Rainbow trout here have been well adapted to the environment, and catching them requires your best angling skills. Sita Devi Lake is another good spot for trout fishing in Munnar.
You’ll need permission from Tata Tea Estate to fish in the best spots. You can contact the Tata Cooperative Tea Company office or ask your guide or accommodation for the necessary permits.
2. VEMBANAD LAKE:
Vembanad Lake, situated in Kumarakom, is the largest freshwater lake in Kerala and an angler’s choice. You can reach this destination by road or take a scenic houseboat ride through the intricate backwater channels from Alappuzha or Cochin. The lake offers good opportunities to catch popular fish species like Pearl Spot, Catfish, and Tilapia. Anglers often use earthworms, shrimp, or small fish as bait.
Pro fishing tip: Try fishing near the submerged vegetation for a higher chance of success.
3. ASHTAMUDI LAKE
Ashtamudi Lake, located in Kollam, is another freshwater haven for anglers. You can access this destination by road from Thiruvananthapuram. The lake is known for its thriving Karimeen (Pearl Spot), Tilapia, and Catfish population. Anglers often find success using live bait like prawns or small fish.
Pro fishing tip: Explore the narrow canals and fishing spots around the lake’s edges to increase your chances of a good catch.
4. PAMBA RIVER
The Pamba River, originating from the Western Ghats, flows through central Kerala, offering excellent fishing opportunities. You can take a scenic drive along the riverside to reach this picturesque location. The river is known for its abundance of fish species, including the mighty Mahseer, Tilapia, and Snakehead. Anglers often use artificial lures or live bait such as worms or small fish.
Pro tip: Focus on areas near rocks or fallen trees where fish tend to seek shelter.
5. MUTHAPPAN PUZHA
Muthappanpuzha River, situated in Malappuram, offers a unique angling experience amidst beautiful surroundings. The river is home to a variety of fish species, including Catfish, Tilapia, and Snakehead. Anglers often find success using live bait like earthworms or small fish.
Pro tip: Look for areas with gentle currents or bends in the river, as they are likely hotspots for fish.
Top Seawater Angling Destinations in Kerala
Kerala boasts a coastline of over 500 km, with direct access to the Arabian Sea and its abundant marine life. In recent years, recreational saltwater fishing and deep-sea fishing have become increasingly popular activities in Kerala. Here are some of the top destinations for sea fishing in Kerala.
Kovalam, a popular beach town near Thiruvananthapuram, offers some opportunities for seawater fishing. You can reach Kovalam by road Thruvananthapuram. The Arabian Sea along the coastline of Kovalam is home to various fish, including Barracuda, King Mackerel, and Snapper. Anglers often use bait such as squid, shrimp, or small fish.
Pro tip: Cast your line near rocky outcrops or areas with coral reefs for better chances of catching larger fish.
Bekal, located in Kasaragod district, is renowned for its pristine beaches and excellent fishing opportunities. The nerest railway station is Bakal. The coastal waters of Bekal are teeming with fish species like Trevally, Grouper, and Red Snapper. Anglers often succeed using bait such as prawns, squid, or live fish.
Pro fishing tip: Explore rocky patches near the estuary mouth for a higher chance of catching a trophy fish.
Varkala, a coastal town in Thiruvananthapuram, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and fishing opportunities. To reach Varkala, you can travel by road or train to the nearest railway station ( also Varkala). The seawaters of Varkala are home to fish species such as Barramundi, Snapper, and Pompano. Anglers often succeed using bait such as prawns, small fish, or artificial lures.
Pro fishing tip: Look for areas with sandbanks or submerged rocks, as they attract a variety of fish.
4. FORT KOCHI
Fort Kochi, a historic port city in Kochi, offers a fascinating blend of culture, heritage, and fishing opportunities. To reach Fort Kochi, you can travel by road or fly to the nearest airport. The coastal waters around Fort Kochi are known for fish species like Barracuda, Kingfish, and Snapper. Anglers often succeed using bait such as squid, shrimp, or live fish. The best time for fishing in Fort Kochi is during the early morning or late evening hours.
Pro tip: Explore fishing near the traditional Chinese fishing nets for a unique angling experience.
5. POOVAR ISLAND
Poovar Island, located near Thiruvananthapuram, offers a tranquil setting and excellent fishing prospects.The surrounding coastal waters of Poovar Island are abundant in fish species such as Snapper, Grouper, and Jacks. Anglers use bait such as squid, shrimp, or small fish.
Pro tip: Look for areas where the water meets the mangroves or near rocky structures for higher chances of a rewarding catch.
IMPORTANT: Sport Fishing is a new recreational activity in Kerala, and finding guides or tour companies to help plan your fishing holiday may be difficult. Your best option is to discuss your requirements with the accommodation you plan to stay at.